Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Check out this Unauthorized iPod U2 v. Negativland Special Edition!

The product description begins:
In 1991, the experimental sound collage band Negativland released a single called “U2”, which extensively sampled both U2’s hit single “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and colorful studio recordings of Top 40 disc jockey Casey Kasem. This offbeat recording would have languished in obscurity if weren’t for Island Records, U2’s record label, which decided to sue Negativland and their independent label SST Records for deceptive packaging and copyright infringement. After a protracted legal battle, Negativland’s legal funds were exhausted and they settled out of court. Today, it is illegal to produce the “U2” single in the United States. (U2, on the other hand, would go on to use unauthorized samples of appropriated satellite video in their Zoo TV tour.)

Now you can commemorate this ignoble episode in intellectual property history with iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition. From its packaging to its pre-installed content, this unauthorized iPod modification is an artful mash-up of the forces of corporate megarock and obscure experimental music, and a provocative symbol of the ongoing struggle between those who would confine culture and those who would free it.

The package design of iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition is inspired by Apple’s unparalleled focus on every last detail of the shopping experience. This iPod comes packaged in a standard “cube” box that will be familiar to iPod owners around the world. However, one side of the box has been subtly modified to show the two bands in opposition, with U2 on top and Negativland on the bottom. On another side, the box label has been modified to read “iPod/Special Edition/U2 vs. Negativland.”

The product comes specially loaded:
To get you started in your subversive listening habits, iPod U2 vs. Negativland Special Edition also comes pre-loaded with these Negativland albums:
* Points (1981)
* Free (1993)
* Fair Use (1995)
* Dispepsi (1997)
* Happy Heroes (1998)
* The ABCs of Anarchism (1999, with Chumbawamba)
Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak (2002)
You will also receive physical copies of these albums in Compact Disc format. Fair Use includes a 270-page book about the “U2” single and its legal repercussions, and Deathsentences of the Polished and Structurally Weak includes a 64-page full-color book.

(via BoingBoing)
If only I had $350 to post a bid!

1 comment:

bkmarcus said...

Benjamin Walker did an interesting radio documentary on sampling and remixing (including its Renaissance and Classical roots) not just in music, but in poetry, painting, and sculpture. (Also available here.)